Seattle is no cookie cutter city. It boasts more than its fair share of specialties, including unrivaled seafood and the rise of an eclectic dining scene in recent years, plus several lakes (most notably Lake Washington and Lake Union), parks and fairly distinct neighborhoods. Consider the following quintessential activities during your trip:
1. Walk the waterfront and explore its various piers, particularly Pier 59 housing the well-known Seattle Aquarium, which is always good for an otter or two. A bowl of chowder from Ivar’s never hurt anybody, and if time allows, enter as a foot passenger aboard a large green and white ferry toward toward Bainbridge Island and enjoy a half hour each way of stunning island views.
2. Pike Place Market is one of the most notable public markets in the United States, having been in operation since 1907, so it’s worth visiting for the requisite fan photo in front of the Pike Place Market sign as you peruse produce, flowers, cheeses and watch a few ubiquitous fish get thrown around.
3. Walk around downtown. Areas to target include along 1st Avenue, around the Space Needle and EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum, and near the Pacific Place shopping center. The homeless population can get a bit heavy in certain spots, but so can Starbucks; both are more or less harmless. While hanging in the streets, check out the city’s seriously talented “buskers,” aka street performers. Buskers aren’t legal in every city, but Seattle has them in spades.
4. Grab happy hour in South Lake Union, a newly renovated area that billionaire Paul Allen (owner of the Seattle Seahawks) has developed into a modern neighborhood all its own. It is in “SLU” that Amazon employees hang out post-workday (and feel free to be nosy about their work, especially if you’re the investing type; Amazonians are notorious for developing their own start-ups and more than a few have cashed in over the years).
5. Grab an Uber and visit Ballard, an under-the-radar-but-effortlessly-cool community along the northwest edge of Seattle. Ballard features a bevy of crafty restaurants, bars and pubs, nearly all of them with the reclaimed wood look, local craft beers on tap and a diverse, attractive crowd. While in this ‘hood, it would be a shame to not explore the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks (the “Ballard Locks” to locals) and, if the season is right, watch the salmon on their way to spawning grounds. Remember: fish need love too.
Did I leave anything out? You tell me, or learn more about Seattle here.